Ultraverse Connections

Avengers Ultraforce Vol 1 1

     This isn't an Ultraverse blog, but I do belong to an Ultraverse group on Facebook, many of whom couldn't care less about the Avengers. They may be interested in the few Ultraverse/Malibu connections I've made to the Avengers in this blog, however, so I culled through the old entries and pulled out those specific things that refer to the Ultraverse and its creators. Now that I've finished up Steve Englehart's first run, I expect the connections will dry up for a while, but here's what I've mentioned so far.

From Avengers 1, Stan Lee's first issue:
  • I met Stan Lee once. I was introduced to him along with the Malibu Art Department. The one memory I have of that meeting was that Stan was looking at the poster art for our Mantra character and thought she was pretty hot. There's a reason his nickname is "The Man."
From Avengers 47, the first Dane Whitman (Black Knight):
  • This is the first appearance of a new heroic Black Knight, Dane Whitman. He does not appear in costume until next issue, however. He would later go on to be an Avenger and one of the few Marvel characters to cross into the Ultraverse for an extended period of time. He even led the Ultrahero team Ultraforce.
From Avengers 66, Barry Windsor-Smith's first issue:
  • Windsor-Smith has since worked for several publishers, but has been mostly inactive in the comic book industry since 2000. He co-created the Rune character and series for the Malibu Ultraverse with Chris Ulm. I got to place some of the word balloons for the series, and I got a post-it note from Mr. Windsor-Smith to “Get the balloon out of his f**king eye!” And you bet I did.
From Avengers 84 (January, 1971):
  • The letter column of this issue features a letter written by Mike W. Barr. He would go on to become a comic book editor and writer himself of many series for various publishers starting in 1974. He was also the creator of Batman and the OutsidersCamelot 3000, and Maze Agency. I was lucky enough to work with him as assistant editor on another of his creations, the Ultraverse’s Mantra series.
From Avengers 86:
  • This issue’s letter column features a letter from Mike W. Barr in which he voices some concern about the use of two half-pages on pages 12 and 13 cutting back on the amount of content.
From Avengers 94:
  •  Super-Skrull keeps referring to his abilities as “ultra-powers” in this issue, just like the term characters in the Ultraverse would use over 20 years later.
From Avengers 104:
  • The letters page features a letter from Mike W. Barr. He was a bit disappointed by issue 100 because it was wrapped up too quickly, and he thought Barry Smith’s art was “watered down” by too many panels on the pages.
From Avengers 105 to 114 opening essay:

     While working at Malibu Comics, I was assistant editor on two series that Englehart wrote, The Strangers and Night Man. Since, as an assistant, my primary dealings were with the artists, I never had much contact with Mr. Englehart, especially since he wasn’t ever running late, often what required me to check up on freelancers in the first place. Before becoming an assistant editor, I did paste-up of many of the word balloons for the Malibu series, and Englehart’s work, especially Strangers, was one of the more verbose and sometimes required a bit more work to fit all that dialogue into a panel.

From Avengers 105, Steve Englehart's first issue:
  • To my surprise, Englehart’s dialogue uses periods for punctuation. His scripts for the Ultraverse used exclamation points and question marks exclusively.
From Daredevil and the Black Widow 99, by Steve Gerber, which is after Avengers 110 by Steve Englehart:
  • The storyline is handed off from one Ultraverse founder to another, and both are even named Steve.
From Avengers 121:
  • The Bullpen Bulletins mentions Steve Englehart's move to San Francisco. He will later set his Ultraverse series, Night Man and The Strangers, in San Francisco.
From Avengers 122 (April, 1974):
  • The letters page features a complimentary letter from Rick Hoberg. He would go on to work as an artist with Steve Englehart on The Strangers in 1993.

From Avengers 136:
  • This is the only issue of Avengers that features art by Mike Ploog. Ploog was the artist who developed the original designs for Ghost Rider, as well as drawing the first Ghost Rider stories, and Man-Thing (1974). He later did the art for the Ultraverse’s Sludge: Red X-Mas special with Man-Thing writer Steve Gerber. He had drawn several pages of art for another Sludge special by Gerber, but it was neither finished nor published. I vaguely remember Sludge fighting an alligator in the swamp. (probably Swamp of Souls.)
From Avengers 138, featuring the villain, The Stranger:
  • There are multiple "Strangers" in the issue. Englehart will later create the Strangers comic book for the Ultraverse.
From Avengers 148:
  • Vision calls the Serpent Crown a "damnable ikon." This is an alternate spelling of icon, but it may have been an intentional choice by Englehart. In his later Ultraverse series, he was particular in the use of the spelling "magick" rather than "magic," though he had yet to adopt that practice in these Avengers issues.

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